Outside The Lines
Featuring Works by eight emerging, self-taught artists,
Burden, Cox, DeRosa, DeSista, Easton, Stevens, Thibault, Vacation
On Exhibit through January 30 - February 28, 2020
Artist Reception: Saturday, February 8th from 4:00 - 8:00 PM
(snow date Feb 15th same time)
Image by Meg Heriot Weschler and Easton
In February of 2020 Coastal Contemporary Gallery presents ‘Outside the Lines’. Celebrating eight talented creatives who are working and growing beyond the training and practices derived from the 'architecture' of conventional education. These self-taught artists find purpose, passion and balance within their art-making process. They are inspired by bits and pieces of life in motion that otherwise might be missed by our daily surface tasks - heads tilted downward, focused on the minutia. They possess the ability to pass rusted scraps of material lying dormant on dark basement steps, or glass eyes at a flea market, that strongly declare to become something much more. Memory-filled objects are arranged, saturated in light and re-shaped into abstract productions. Complex psychologies are pushed into simplification and everyday happenings, filled with the potential of ancient narratives are unpeeled and revealed. These artists express their visions without fear or constraint, and are extraordinarily empathic, sensitive beings. They are our childlike gifts in a muddled world of adulting.
There are blurred lines. Outsiders are now often, 'insiders'.
Art historian Roger Cardinal published his book and coined the term ‘Outsider Art’ in 1972. Outsider Art is originally the English equivalent to Dubuffet’s art brut definition. Art Brut and Raw Art ‘designates a category of works made by people ignoring any and all artistic and aesthetic references, or refusing quite simply to submit to standards.’ Naïve and Primitive are terms also reserved for this space. How can this really occur in a world filled with technology that is opening vast channels of connectivity and visibility?
This is not to say that ‘genuine’ Outsiders no longer exist, as per the original characterization. With a growing number of available outlets and platforms, for an ‘Outsider’ artist to be truly outside, is becoming a bit of a conundrum. A fair titled 'OUTSIDER' boasts itself as a global contributor to the commerce of creativity beyond the mainstream. Yet, inside each purchased booth within this fair, is a qualified gallery representing ‘Outsiders’. The artists are not wearing that classification anymore, or are they?
Visionary Art is yet another articulation that comes into play when this topic arises. Not all artists are visionaries. Not all Outsiders are either. Not all professional artists are trained in an educational setting. Nor must it mean, to be an Outsider, that there are physical, mental, social, emotional disabilities or challenges attached. The term has been so drastically broadened, shifted and edited.
Our eight ‘Outsider-The-Liners’ are actively working to expand their resumes. We met each of them in unique ways and appreciate the bravery it takes to put the artwork out; while accepting critical eyes with a broader wingspan.
Edward Burden My work is ultimately about Consciousness...that glorious and horrible point of awareness and "Being." I never felt of the world, but rudely placed in it. I was surrounded by object worshippers, and I became one.
As a child, and into adulthood, I grew up and lived in the home of one of the Presidents of The Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA). I played with the Giacometti. At a later age, my brother and I fantasized about removing the Picasso harlequin from its frame, and escaping to Europe to sell it.
Being an observer, I quickly made friends with the 35mm camera my mother gave me for a trip with her on a Greek underwater archeological dig. The Rollei had to be given to me in secret, because my Austrian arms-dealer stepfather didn't think a boy deserved such quality. As I grew, tormented by being sent away from home at the age of 8, I found solace, and distance from a world I didn't feel safe in, through my camera. I loved Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Ilford HP-5, and Tri-X film.
What captures my eye most in photography is the essence of life (Consciousness), as seen through eyes, and faces. Composition is key, obviously, but without consciousness somehow being represented...I lose interest. I never crop my "art." I feel that I have the moment to capture a composition through my viewfinder, and that is that. I never use "Photoshop," or alter my Art images. I may change the exposure a bit, as one might when printing with negatives… I embrace the instant gratification of digital photography, but I shoot and print like it's film.
I feel I can photograph anything. I have always played with light and continue to emphasize that in my work. I use objects that mimic life/consciousness and it's nuances, through glass eyes, empty eye sockets (dolls/skulls), and skulls as the containers of eyes and gray matter...and theoretically, Consciousness.
I'm an artist, creating what I believe is Contemporary Art. I sculpt and ‘write’ a story, by assembling items into a piece. The piece changes and grows while I am working with it. I use a camera to record my work, with objects and lighting, and that’s where the photography aspect ends. Composition is present in all artistic endeavors. I play with color and light as if painting. My grouping of objects is a statement based on my entire life, observing, reacting, and finally accepting…what I understand as “my reality.” My “reality” is not necessarily your “reality.”
Chris Cox At 33, Chris Cox aka @wild_canary, is an outsider on the horizon.
On May 30th 2016 the, at the time unknown; made his professional debut as an artist with an abstract public sculpture titled POD [People of Difference] semi-permanently installing the 7’ tall 12” diameter contemporary henge of 6 black fiberglass monoliths, along the South Water Street boardwalk in Providence, RI.
As a young adult Christopher very briefly pursued and abandoned an art education at the Community College of Rhode Island. Leaving due to mental health reasons and struggling with direction until finding himself in his mid-twenties; under the tutelage of Henry Elliot in 2010 at the International Yacht Restoration School. Where, Mr. Cox was fabrication trained as a boatbuilder; graduating with ACMA certifications in composite manufacturing. Afterward, working the marine-trades and later as a composite specialist at ACF Amaral Custom Fabrications; a local boutique fabricator specializing in large scale sculpture.
Known as @wild_canary on Instagram and across the internet since January 2, 2017, Cox has pursued art as his career. Despite having limited exhibition experience Chris Cox @wild_canary has had a number of successes since his premier; most notably executing a Kickstarter campaign to fund his current and most adventurous large-scale project, a modular 17’ long, 13’wide, 11’ tall dog titled #wickedbigwindy.
@wild_canary has been in the press a number of times, first revealing his art and medical issues in an interview by Art Reveal Magazine. Later being featured in Blanket Sea Magazine, the Warren Times, and most recently Providence Monthly Magazine.
Julie DeRosa (aka Sacred Relic Studio), is a self-taught assemblage artist from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. In her work, she addresses issues of transformation and reinvention. Discarded materials find new and unexpected uses in her work; they are assembled and conjoined with unlikely components, a form of rebirth from the ashes into new life and new meaning. The artist also routinely creates and adds resin castings to her work, which she created through a process of mold making with silicone rubber.
“These assemblages are metaphors for rebirth, hope, and healing. These forms are examinations of the world in perpetual flux, where meaning and function are ever-changing.”
Julie is a Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Peer Support Specialist, and facilitator for Intentional Peer Support, Wellness and Recovery Action Plan, Whole Health Action Management, and Trauma Informed Care Trainings. She has spent the last eight years of her professional career providing training and support to persons living with mental health, trauma and substance use challenges. She is a survivor with lived experience.
She creates in her live/work studio in Burrillville, Rhode Island with her husband, and emotional support dog, Jack and has shown work in galleries, boutiques and specialty gift shops in and around New England. She is also one of the co-curators of Pop Up in Pawtucket, which has held three one night only pop up art events featuring some of Southern New England's most prominent up and coming and established artists.
She has taught and facilitated private workshops for a number of organizations, as well as teaching to a group at Rhode Island School of Design.
Angelo DeSista, is a self-taught sculptor and painter, exploring all aspects of the human form.
My first serious attempt at making artwork was in 2015 when I enrolled in The Blue Door Art Studio. From that point to the present, I have exhibited in shows with the Wickford Art Associations, Pawtucket Arts Collaboration, Costal Living Gallery and have had two solo shows.
Born and raised in Rhode Island, I am the owner and operator of the Elizabeth Anthony Hair Salon, where ironically, I work daily on real human forms. I have found Instagram success with Fastenseatbelt68, my online gallery where my work has been shared all over the world by other Art Enthusiasts and other online Art Galleries. As of 2019, Fastenseatbelt68 has over 14,000 organic followers.
Five years an artist, I’m looking forward to the next phase of my career. Beginning 2020 with my first show at and representation with Coastal Contemporary Gallery of Newport.
Philip Easton is a self-taught designer and visual artist. Born and raised into a family with strong roots in the northeast surf and skate movement, he grew up at his local skate shop, Water Brothers, in Newport, Rhode Island. Inspired by his surroundings, Philip began representing his sense of style through art and clothing. In 2010, Philip launched his own successful street wear brand, Legends Limited, which seeks to produce high quality products while promoting individual expression and creativity. Motivated and inspired by the momentum of the brand, Philip has continued to expand his sense of creative expression through visual art. His current body of work includes limited edition silk screen prints based on previous street art installations, sculptures made of salvaged metal, and abstract drawings with oil stick on reclaimed objects. As a self-starter and outsider artist, Philip is encouraged by progression and driven by his own thoughts and desires to take chances with art and design.
B. Lucy Stevens is an internationally recognized mixed-media artist living in Providence, Rhode Island. Lucy paints intuitively, and her work is vibrant and expressionistic as daily life is imagined in a brilliant cacophony of color and pattern. A former newspaper reporter and fiction writer, Lucy turned to painting when she realized she could express things with images that she wasn’t able to convey in words. People and their stories are endlessly interesting to her. “I am fascinated by the idea that inside each of us swirls a rich and complex universe of emotions, experiences, thoughts and memories,” she says. “I want to know these stories and find a way to express them.”
She is inspired by primitive art and art made by children and her far-flung travels, from South America, to Indonesia to the South of France, where she lived for a year on a flower farm.
Lucy leads workshops for children in underserved communities and for adults with developmental disabilities, and she is hugely inspired by their art as well. Her paintings have been featured in galleries and shows throughout the U.S. as well as in France and the U.K., and her work is in private collections around the world.
Christopher Thibault was raised in South Eastern New Hampshire (b.1985) between the polarities of the White Mountains and the industrialized mills of the Merrimack Valley. A self-taught interdisciplinary artist who began his career in music touring the USA from 2003 to 2006 and later releasing, "The Blindfolds We Hide Behind" in May 2005 as lead singer of Ambry on Death Scene Records.
After transplanting to Boston, Massachusetts in 2007 Chris began discovering his visual style using linguistic drawing and blind contour pen and ink. He considers his aesthetic to be within the flaw. Taking interest in the Aleatoric techniques of William Burroughs and Henry Miller, he saw paintings as symphonic poems overlaid like moving parts in an animation.
"A major motif in my work is the repetition of symbolic colors. I often use nostalgic color triad smearing as a technique to spread the acrylics into biomorphic form that opens up the canvas to free association. Smearing with a credit card is a way to introduce the element of chance.
Linguistic drawing captures the variety of associations that come up. Varying from song lyrics, research topics, and impulse documentary flash backs of human interaction. A private mythology forms from open dialogue with the unconscious. The words are either mutilated or illuminated like torn up manuscripts.
I sometimes use sanding to give the texture illusion of photodegradation. Working as a finisher I found sanding each layer of paint to be meditative. It reminded me of Navaho Sand Paintings smudged out after ritual. Solidifying that meaning is within the bounds of creating itself. And that Nature wears character into the effort expressed.
In the movement of the process it becomes computer poetry with inputs and outputs similar to algorithms. The picture plane turns into a location, or psychological landscapes that are layered like pages in a diary using addition and subtraction of split-second associations that gain rhythm through the momentum of phenomenological unveiling.
Not limited to abstraction or figuration, I begin to improvise composition until I find a fantastic narrative or see the canvas ripe with organic unity. I name it as a song."
Tyler Vacation Painting is my passion, working to build a career that allows me to create art every day is my dream. My short term goal is to continue producing new work, while also making connections with other artists and galleries. My long term goal is to be represented by galleries that share my same mindset, and vision.
The unorthodox paintings of American artist, Tyler Vacation, are often inspired by the ambiguity, and wonderment of everyday life. It was at the impressionable age of 17, that the young artist was first exposed to street art by the likes of Banksy, and Mr. Brainwash. Often working in mediums such as acrylic, spray paint, and oil stick, it is easy to see hints of these early influences resonate in his work. The depth, vibrancy, and ambitious scale of his paintings serve as key defining factors that can be found throughout the artist’s body of work. Unconfined by the restraints of any particular artistic movement, this young artist embodies what it means to be free, utilizing the world as his own creative playground. Artist Statement Mistakes only exist if they are observed as such. My inspiration is often sparked by a simple word, color, or idea. There is no limit to what I can create as an artist because limits only exist within rational minds. Any line that I draw will inevitably lead me to my end destination.